A nice easy bus ride from Krakow to Zakopane, taking about two hours and crawling through every town on the way. Zakopane is ‘Poland’s winter capital’, big on skiing and hiking. We’re obviously here out of season – too early for the skiing and too late for the best hiking, but we figure we can manage a few good walks, and if it rains we can sit inside and read.
The trip from the bus station to the apartment is more difficult, Google Maps comes up with a weird and wonderful route that involves narrow side streets and steep streets with no footpaths. But we make it. The town is all picture postcard chalets, wooden with sloped roofs. It’s surrounded by hills which look attractive, though they’re mostly covered by mist.
By now it’s about three so we go for a walk in the Tatra National Park which starts at the south edge of Zakopane. We are unfortunately staying on the north side, so we’re faced with a 40 minute walk each day just to get to the start of the walk. Not ideal, but once we get there it’s worth it – little mountain paths running up alongside swift-running clear streams, with autumnal trees in many colours. Exactly the sort of relaxation we needed.
We finish up with dinner at a generic “traditional” restaurant along the main strip – the staff forced to dress in old-style clothes, with folk music playing loudly and with large, heavy portions of food. We do OK with our order, though I’m still feel heavy after the mixed grill I ordered, two days later.